First Hit: Funnier than expected and not a great film.
This somewhat topical film about Wall Street mismanagement of funds is only interesting because James (Will Ferrell) is a newly appointed partner in his fiance's felonious father's firm (say that 3 times fast). He is also unknowingly going to be the fall guy for the theft.
Looking at 20+ years in the penitentiary, he hires Darnell (Kevin Hart), an executive car wash owner, to teach him how to survive in prison. Although Darnell’s never been to prison, he makes James believe him because what James will pay him. To do this, Darnell turns James’ home into a prison with barbed wire, security gates and all sorts of spotlights.
The interaction between the fast-talking Darnell and the slow to get the picture James is, at times, very very good. At other times not quite as good. Yet; I’ll say that with Hart as a foil, Ferrell is better than usual.
Hart is a fast-talking creative genius. Watching him act you know he’s adding and deleting dialogue as required to make the scenes work. Ferrell is better with Hart as a foil instead of being the sole performer in a film. Craig T. Nelson as the felonious father-in-law is believable. Alison Brie as his fiancé Alissa is OK but her part felt forced. Jay Martel and Ian Roberts wrote a pretty good script in that it allowed for the actors to create characters. Etan Cohen did a good job of directing by letting the actors push their characters, although the first part of the film felt more constricted than the latter half.
Overall: One of the better Will Ferrell films I’ve seen in a long time.